It was good to have Andrew Shearman at ALife yesterday. We were all encouraged by the work of God’s grace in his life and the wisdom of life he shared with us all. It is always a blessing to receive the life that comes from Andrew.
We have been sent into the world that is filled with wickedness as an antidote to the sickness of sin. We are empowered by God’s manifest presence, God’s grace, in our lives so that we can overcome wickedness. Wickedness is not trying to overcome us. We are mandated to overcome wickedness. It often feels as if we are being attacked by wickedness, but we are simply walking into the territory of wickedness to transform the earth beneath the soles of our feet. If we walk into a den of bears we can expect a bear to be defensive of his territory. We are in the world and we can expect wicked things to resist us and to try to attack us when we walk into the territory they think is theirs. We are not really being attacked by wickedness, wickedness is simply defending itself against our influence. As children of God we are not in this world wasting time until we go to heaven. We are here to change the world.
What does transforming the territory beneath our feet look like? If my family has a tendency to be stubborn I could be born with a generational iniquity, a generational weakness to being stubborn. If the culture of my family encourages stubbornness, I could grow in the immature attribute of being stubborn and when I grow up I could become an influencer of stubbornness to the world around me. Grace is the antidote to my iniquity. In the midst of my stubborn environment, God comes into my life and forgives me of my stubbornness. I know His love! He has forgiven me of being stubborn! I have a Father who loves me, but I still have a problem. My character, nature, and way is stubborn. God then says, come to Me! I come to Him and He says, I am going to work in your life and make it so you are not stubborn. I am going to transform your stubbornness into something beautiful. I am going to make you extremely teachable and I am going to turn your stubbornness into a strength. I am going to change your desires, thoughts, emotions, and imaginations into a testimony of change. I am going to make you willing to let go of your stubbornness and I am going to turn your stubbornness into tenacity. I am going to transform your weakness into a strength that doesn’t give up easily, but is eagerly willing to change all the time. This is an actual testimony in my life. I was born stubborn. My father’s father was stubborn. I come from a line of ancestors that were stubborn, but God’s grace has changed and continues to change me. I am increasingly becoming willing to change my mind. It is a work of the grace of the Holy Spirit in my life. He took a weakness in my life and turned it into a strength. I don’t quit easily. I change my mind easily, but I don’t give up. It is a work of grace. It is overcoming the wicked one of stubbornness. It didn’t change who I am, but only caused be to be who I was supposed to be.
God wants to change us by the power of grace, but it is not law. It is not something we are obligated to obey, but force of life that transforms our hearts and minds. We must also know that grace doesn’t just happen. We have to find grace. We have to boldly come to the throne of grace, receive mercy and find grace. We have to look around to find grace. It involves action on our part. We have to continually reach out to take hold of the mercy being given to us, but we have to also search for grace and find it. We don’t look for grace with an attitude that it might exist or it might not exist. We have to look for what we know exists. Grace is the power of God that changes us, but we cannot look for it with an attitude of whether it is real or not. We have to know it is real and search for it until we find it.
Colossians 3:10 …and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
We have to put off the old man, but we must also seek to put on the new man. Mercy says we are free from the old man. Our sins are forgiven, we have a Father who loves us. But now we have to put on the new man. We have to know that the new man exists. We must put on Christ and be renewed in the knowledge of who He is. The way we think will change and we will look like our heavenly Father in increasing measure. All of us qualify. It doesn’t matter who we are or who we have been. We are all now the circumcised of heart.
Ted J. Hanson
Once again, let me give a big thank to those who have and are supporting House of Bread Ministry in prayer and in finance. Without your prayers and support we are limited in our ability to do our part in the place of our calling in Christ. If God blesses you to bless us, please consider supporting House of Bread Ministry.Checks Payable to: House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225
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